On Oct. 1, the Indiana University Northwest Lady RedHawks pushed the Rochester College Lady Warriors, who are ranked 18th in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, to a tough 3-1 decision (19-25, 27-25, 10-25, 22-25) in the opening match of a home doubleheader in the Savannah Center.
Unfortunately, the Lady RedHawks dropped the second match in straight sets (13-25, 15-25, 16-25).
Still, it was a valiant effort for the outgunned Lady RedHawks, who came with just six players to a contest against a 10-member Rochester squad. Fatigue was evident in a team that had just played a road game against Taylor University Fort Wayne (TUFW) the night before.
Much of the RedHawks’ firepower in the Rochester matches came from former Merrillville High School standout Lisa Saberniak, who notched a total of 22 kills in the two games.
Despite tough losses to Rochester and TUFW, RedHawks head coach Omar Vasquez said he remains optimistic about his squad’s season. IU Northwest is currently ranked No. 1 among independent schools in NAIA Division II.
“Rochester College and Taylor University are very competitive and highly ranked teams,” Vasquez said. “Our players showed a lot of fight and showed that they belong on the court with these teams. I am very proud of how they competed. With one or two more players, we would have had the opportunity to rest players. Who knows what the outcome might have been?”
Excitement is building on campus for the current volleyball season, and fan support has grown with each game. Players’ family and friends are among the squad’s most steadfast supporters, and members of the IU Northwest administration, including Chancellor Bruce Bergland, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kwesi Aggrey and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Diane Hodges, were in attendance at Wednesday’s game.
Lady RedHawk setter Whitney Tanner, a Hebron High School graduate, said the fan support means a great deal to the IU Northwest players.
“It was nice to have all the support,” she said. “We really fed off the crowd’s energy.”
The Lady RedHawks will travel to Michigan to play Grace Bible College on Friday, Oct. 3.